Rumboldswhyke and how the parish came by its full name
Rumboldswhyke, the parish known to many simply as the shortened version Whyke, takes its name from connections to St Rumbold. The latter part of the name, Whyke, came to mean a village, or, in the Middle Ages, a village outside a walled city. The parish is referred to as the ‘town of St Rumbold’ as early as 1262. It is said that pilgrims travelled to the then parish church of St Rumbold’s Church, now known as St Mary’s Church, to visit a shrine where the relics of St Rumbold were supposedly held.
The nave and chancel of St Mary’s Church date to the 11th century. It was refitted with lancet windows in the early 13th century. It was extended in 1866 but became too small for the growing local population and went out of use in the 20th century.
It permanently closed as a church in 1979. In the 1990s, it was taken on by CWA architects and refurbished for use as their offices in 2000-2002. Since 2012, it has been occupied by HMDW Architects Ltd.
The parish is home to Chichester’s Roman amphitheatre. Discovered in 1934, this was archaeologically investigated a year later. It was found to have a central arena that had been made by lowering the ground by about 1.2metres, the spare earth and gravel being used to make a large bank around it that supported the wooden seats of the grandstand. There was a decorative stone wall at the front of the grandstand and probably a tall wooden one at the back. Finds indicated the amphitheatre was constructed in the late 1st century AD. More recent geophysical survey has revealed that it was oval and probably had four entrances that led through the bank to the bottom of the grandstand. It is now a Scheduled Monument.
In 1883, the Rev Thomas Brandram granted some church land for the construction of a school. The current school building was opened and dedicated on May 14, 1964.
In 1989 and 2007, the school was modernised and extended. In April 2020, West Sussex County Council made recommendations to close Rumboldswhyke C of E Infants. Local parents, supporters and the local community campaigned to keep the school open and in June 2020, the council confirmed it would remain open but converted into an academy.
The current parish church is St George’s. It was built to serve the growing parish which had developed as a result of the construction of the railway in the area in the mid-1800s. Originally, St George’s was quite basic, however in 1904, following the death of the first Rector Charles Farthing, Dr Ernest Glover oversaw the addition of a vestry in 1909, and porches soon after.
A number of the roads in the Rumboldswhyke area have a Scottish influence, including Caledonian Road,
View of the construction work of the Whyke Housing Estate
Clydesdale Avenue and Stirling Road. At the end of the 19th century, a Scotsman named Peter Buchan moved to Chichester. He became a city councillor and started an ironworks in what is now the area of Caledonian Road.
At its height, the ironworks consisted of a vast complex of workshops, including railway track for the transportation of the machinery which was built there. One building does remain – Forum House at the junction of Caledonian Road and Stirling Road.
In the 1930s, a number of new houses were erected by builder Frederick Keates, whose yard was at Franklin Place. Keates first built Cambrai
Avenue, then Ormonde Avenue, naming these in memory of his late brother, who died during the First World War.
Later on came Velyn Avenue after his daughter Evelyn, who died in childhood. Finally came Winden Avenue, after his other daughter Winifred and her husband Denis. In 1946, construction of the Whyke Estate began.